Rev. Lisa Ward (begins August 1, 2016)
Rev. Lisa Gail Ward comes to us from the great state of Maryland, where she has served the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County in Churchville, Maryland for 17 years. She completed her studies for her M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1991, after which she served congregations in New York City, Queens, and White Plains, NY, before being called in 1998 to be an extension minister in Harford County, MD. Extension ministry is a program of the UUA which seeks to assist congregations whose viability is in question. Rev. Ward worked so successfully with the UU Fellowship of Harford County for three years that the community then called her to be their settled minister. She’s been there ever since.
During her time in Maryland, Rev. Ward has served for nine years on the board of the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland, a state-wide organization that advocates for justice and equity in civic life and decision-making. After serving for several years as the leader of the LGBT task force, she has served for three years as chair and then co-chair of the UU Legislative Ministry. During her tenure on the board, the UU Legislative Ministry took a lead role in helping Maryland to become the first state in the nation to defeat a referendum against marriage equality, a seven-year-long effort.
Locally, Rev. Ward and her congregation have organized a month-long Silent Witness Display along Churchville Road in October every year since 2001. The display recognizes Harford County’s victims killed through domestic violence with a life-sized wooden silhouette of each victim that includes a plaque with the victim’s name and story. More recently Rev. Ward has taken a leadership role in organizing a series of county-wide forums on Race and Law Enforcement in the wake of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The UU Fellowship of Harford County, a community of approximately 150 members and 70 children, includes four social justice task forces.
In addition to her wide range of social justice work, Rev. Ward has also been an ad hoc instructor at Harford Community College and has served on a variety of committees for the Harford County Schools. Within the Chesapeake Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Association, she has served for two years as President and now serves as a Good Officer, which means that she ministers to her fellow ministers.
Personally, Lisa has recently entered the world of the “empty nesters,” as her daughter Sarah is getting ready to graduate from Brandeis and her son Michael is now a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park. She loves to swim, bike, sing, and dance. Her undergraduate degree is in theatre arts from Sarah Lawrence College, and her early work experience was in the theatre and film industry. Lisa’s mother pursued her own calling to become a UU minister after raising Lisa and her 4 siblings. Lisa also has one brother who is a UU minister in Asheville, NC and another who is a minister of music in Wilmington, DE.
Spiritually, Lisa has for several years mowed a labyrinth in the pasture behind her home. Among her congregants who regularly draw inspiration from her labyrinth are the members of her Retreat-Planning Committee. Movement has always been a big part of her spiritual life, so more recently she has completed training to become a certified Interplay instructor. Interplay is a global movement dedicated to wellness in community through playful interaction, stillness and creative storytelling. It invites all bodies of any ability to explore their innate wisdom and intuition towards wellness. It is an experience that Lisa is very eager to share with all of us. She also reports that her current congregation has a vibrant adult enrichment program, and in worship the community’s arts ensemble offers periodic interactive worship with a house band.
Rev. Ward comes to us with energy to burn and a deep sense of how spirituality and action collaborate to build a community with vision and purpose.